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Monday, March 13, 2017

Alexa, "Open March Madness"! Play the Accessible Bracket Game, and Get All Your March Madness Information!


Introduction

If you’re anything like me, you find yourself caught up in the phenomenon aptly termed “March Madness.” Even the most casual college basketball fan can find something to interest them as it relates to March Madness—a local school who succeeds in the tournament, a small school who defeats bigger schools and advances, or the inspirational story of a player who has overcome adversity to make an impact on the tournament.

Filling Out an Accessible Bracket


Regardless of your level of tournament knowledge or interest, we provide you links for participating in an accessible bracket contest and for listening to or watching the games. If you have tried to play bracket contests in the past, you are keenly aware that many of them lack accessibility. There are too many available contests to test for accessibility, and interfaces change seemingly from year to year; however, we know that there is one specially created bracket contest, the goal of which is to provide a fully accessible bracket for screen readers. To participate, go to http://terrillthompson.com/ncaa/ to get all of the information and to fill out a bracket.

Understand that going to the link shows you the bracket; you must click on the “pool” link to sign up, play the game, and create a potentially winning bracket. Also on this site are links for schedules, scores and live broadcasts from Westwood One Radio.

Terrill Thompson, who sets up this bracket, also runs an accessible sports list which you can subscribe to by filling out the form at http://mail.terrillthompson.com/mailman/listinfo/accessible-sports_terrillthompson.com. Note that once you fill out the form, you must wait for moderator approval before you are subscribed.

Checking Out the Games


So how can we watch or listen to the games. The most comprehensive site is www.ncaa.com/marchmadness which contains schedule information, details on which television channel broadcasts each game, links to the March Madness Live app which provides radio and television broadcasts and a bracket game, and much more information. The games in the “First Four” round all are on TruTV; the remaining tournament games appear on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. Therefore, if you have all of these channels, you may flip from game to game on your television without being locked into watching a blowout simply because your CBS affiliate chose to show a particular game. You also may choose to stream the TV telecasts at http://www.ncaa.com/march-madness-live/watch?cid=mml_ncaa_generic

Listening to the Games


If you want just radio broadcasts, the best site is www.westwoodonesports.com which will allow you to listen to every game including the First Four. You may also be able to replay games you missed, and game highlights and recaps certainly are available. Westwood One offers five channels; one is the national Westwood One broadcast which highlights one particular game and moves back and forth among the remaining action. If you listen on a “regular” radio and not using SiriusXM or the TuneIn app, you will hear this channel. If the game you care about most is not featured, you can hear it on the Westwood One site for free on one of the other four channels, one for each tournament region, or you can listen on SiriusXM Satellite Radio if you are a subscriber.

Finally, if you wish to listen to the games on your Smartphone, of course, you can use the SiriusXM app if you are a subscriber; however, the app that works best and usually is accessible enough, even if it is a bit confusing at first glance, is the TuneIn radio app. The quickest way to locate it is to search for TuneIn on your app store of choice; however, for more information, go to https://tunein.com/get-tunein/ to read more information or download the app. Please note that TuneIn has a free version, a paid version that removes ads, and a premium version which offers a monthly subscription for listening to audio books, NFL and MLB broadcasts. You may select any of these options based on your particular taste, but please note that the free version is all that is necessary to listen to the NCAA tournament games.

All Information in One Place


Tournament coverage increases annually with games becoming available on more platforms each year. The most comprehensive roundup of every way to view tournament games in 2017 is found at http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2017-03-07/ncaar-march-madnessr-livetm-provide-fans-live-streaming-2017?cid=ncaammsocial_tw_sf60693693 which details how to watch games, listen to games, view highlights, play the official bracket game, download the March Madness Live App, and more. If you are uncertain about where to go to find information, go to this site as it links to anything and everything else you may wish to locate

Please note that we have not tested the app, the bracket game, or the methods for watching the games for accessibility. You may wish to do so at your convenience. We can say, however, that with all the partnerships mentioned on this page, individuals can access NCAA tournament games on 15 platforms, including Amazon Alexa Devices and Xbox for the first time. There also is a new interactive bracket via Apple TV. Additionally, Turner’s iStreamPlanet will handle live streaming infrastructure for all games made available through NCAA March Madness Live which is supposed to enhance the quality of the live stream. The site also boasts many other changes and upgrades. One which may especially interest people who are blind and visually impaired is the new March Madness Alexa skill which will allow fans to ask “March Madness” questions concerning scores and results and also provides direct access to the Westwood One play-by-play feeds. To interact with March Madness content using Alexa, download the March Madness skill and say, “Alexa, Open March Madness.”

The aforementioned site provides much greater detail about all of the options for viewing and listening to the games; check out http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2017-03-07/ncaar-march-madnessr-livetm-provide-fans-live-streaming-2017?cid=ncaammsocial_tw_sf60693693 and enjoy the Madness!

You may wish to try several bracket games and check for accessibility either on the website or the accompanying app. No matter how many contests you enter, please consider supporting the accessible bracket site, http://terrillthompson.com/ncaa/

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